Women and Heart Attack Signs

Ask the Heart Expert


Are the signs of a heart attack different for women?  


The most common heart attack symptom in both women and men is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other warning signs not related to chest pain, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.

The truth is many heart attacks start slowly and can cause only mild pain or discomfort. Even chest pain can come and go. The key is to listen to your body. And don’t ignore symptoms that may not fit the stereotypical image of a heart attack.

After all, every minute counts, even when symptoms seem to disappear or don’t feel that severe. That’s why it’s important to call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest discomfort or uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts for longer than a few minutes, or comes and goes
  • Spreading pain to one or both arms, back, jaw or stomach
  • Cold sweats and nausea

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